Don’t give too much weight to judgement, there are better things to be busy with. Sometimes you are asking around opinions about your ideas in a really early phase and it can happen that someone (with more or less experience) tries to demotivate you or find many reasons for convincing you to not proceed with your idea. Don’t worry: it is just an opinion. At the end what really counts it is what your belly says. If your belly doesn’t say much (I can’t believe that) ask the belly of your most trusted person in the planet.
I had the pleasure to interview actress Daniela Lucato. Daniela Lucato started playing theatre in Padua (Italy) parallel to her studies at the university. After her degree in Philosophy with an anthropological thesis on contemporary dance, she moved to Rome, Wellington and finally Berlin where she worked as an actress for films/theatre. In 2013 she wrote/directed the theatre piece “Call Me Reality” that participated to several theater festivals. The Birthday (2014), her first short film written/directed in mandarin/english language, has been officially selected from 25 international festivals (among these Micgenero, Frameline, ShanghaiPride where the film was also nominated for the best cinematography). In 2015 she founded Connecting Fingers Company. Her last productions are Connecting Fingers, The Wheel, The rebellious Body for the dance theatre. Her last films When I dance (2016),The Wheel (2017) and For the time being (2018) are still screening on international festivals. She is now writing her first feature film Alice still has a dream and preparing her next creative documentary.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career with theatre in Italy. I was in love with a piece from Pirandello ”Six characters in search of an author”. I have seen this show when I was in gymnasium and I felt deeply in love with the piece, with theatre, with my new idea of theatre. This show opened a new world for me: from this moment on I was looking at things in a different way, it was like a new wind that was stimulating so much my imagination. I studied theatre in different schools but never in an academy. I was learning a lot from different methods and trainings but still looking for the way to do theatre that better corresponded to the way I wanted to do it. I was curious and enthusiastic of doing different experiences but never completely satisfied and for a long time I really complained with myself I didn’t enter an academy, but on the other hand my disparate experiences and multilayer background opened me a lot and perhaps they gave me the possibility to choose what I want to do in theatre and in film with more freedom.
I learned a lot even from trainings I didn’t like much or from mistakes that happen easily in our environment. I guess we can learn from everything and make all experiences important as long as we want to learn more.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I guess the most interesting story that made a turning point in my career is that I started to direct and I changed my career. This is funny because I didn’t plan or dream about it. It just happened. Before that, I thought I would have died if I couldn’t play regularly or if at some point I had to stop. It was the only thing I dreamed to do for all my life. I didn’t have any doubts about it. But then the click happened. I found myself to write a script for a short film (before I wrote a script for a theatre piece where I was also playing but there I was still much more into acting) and then I didn’t ask myself who will direct it.
It was like a natural further step. But it was such a great discovery because even if it was my first time as a film director I felt in complete control of it. I loved the set from this new position. I felt it full of amazing possibilities and so exciting. It was like having in my hands the maximum level of freedom, a level I never experienced before. My first film gave me very good feedbacks, it made me attend many festivals around the world and I was stunned by this new dimension. I didn’t realize it right away but it made me reach a different level of self-confidence. From that moment I continued to work and work without breaks, both in (independent) theatre and film.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Funniest mistake? Let me think. When I moved to Berlin I took some acting lessons in German. The funny thing is I was not speaking German at all at the time but I was convinced that I could also learn the language just training as an actress with other people. I was also going to theatre shows without understanding a word but just observing actors, the way they were moving, the way they were talking. For me it was a lesson just observing them playing.
Anyway back to my classes, the trainer was not worried about my language block. He thought I could improve my German with time.
Somehow I trusted him/the way he was working, but I just followed my intuition. I barely understood a word and I was doing probably very funny things compared to the actions of my colleagues: it was a personal work process that was probably completely disconnected from the proposed work but we were improvising a lot and basing our training on texts that I had studied before. I was just very intuitively interpreting every task he gave. A crazy thing, I know. I guess the trainer was very curious and interested in watching me, too.
During these trainings I realized I just invented a method for working based on my experience. I still have the feeling that I learned from him. What I learned from this experience? I guess I learned to push my boundaries with intuitive understanding — although today I would only approach classes in a language I feel comfortable with. 😉 Now I speak German.:D
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have two important projects I am working on. They are both about women.
One is a narrative film telling the story of a woman who wants to discover who was her mother and how she died when she was a little kid. It will be a German/Italian co-production. The other one is a creative documentary based on a true story that deals with human rights and sex abuse as a weapon of war. I’m looking for producers to bring them to light.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I met a colleague that became also a dear friend during a festival in Turin (Turin LGBT Film Festival) with my first film “The Birthday”.
His name is Sebastiano Riso. We understood each other from the first five seconds and since then we confront ourselves for all our works. I think confrontation is one of the most important aspects in our field. If I don’t have it, my work can’t develop in the way it does.
Other two persons that I met during an intense acting workshop on Alexander Technique are always in my mind:
Kristof Konrad and Jean-Louis Rodrigue. Their approach to actors is terrific: in the way they work they can take out the best of every actor and make him/her real and believable.
I still remember their workshop with nostalgia.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Believe in yourself and have your aim clear in mind. If you know where you want to go, your legs follow you.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start two movements: one against plastic that spreads consciousness about how much a single person can do for our planet.
Another one for mothers to get them helped/ recognized and supported in their professional work. I’m a mother too and I fight every day to do my work besides all the rest.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
-There are no universal truths: discover what works for you and make it yours
We can follow thousands of methods to play or direct but in my experience you have to model as clay what you have learnt and give it a shape. There is no right method or wrong one. There is the one that works for you if you are the one who knows how.
– Don’t give too much weight to judgement, there are better things to be busy with.
Sometimes you are asking around opinions about your ideas in a really early phase and it can happen that someone (with more or less experience) tries to demotivate you or find many reasons for convincing you to not proceed with your idea. Don’t worry: it is just an opinion. At the end what really counts it is what your belly says. If your belly doesn’t say much (I can’t believe that) ask the belly of your most trusted person in the planet.
– Don’t have fear.
At the beginning I was scared to write personal things or mix personal with narrative stories: I felt almost naked to share intimate thoughts or weaknesses.
If you feel you need to talk about something, you can’t leave it behind you. In theatre or in film you learn to be without inhibitions, to show sides of you that you can’t show in life. You can be crazy, really crazy if the character is. Face your fears because behind them there is a lot to see about you.
– Enjoy your work every moment.
We are often stressed about the future. Will I work? Will I afford this? Will I make this big step or will I fail? Enjoy more. Don’t think about the future too much and enjoy what you are doing in the present. Be positive instead of thinking about what has to come or judging you because you didn’t do as much as you wanted yet (I know that feeling…).
BUT We did a lot. Give yourself some good gratifications (sometimes).
– There are no universal truths. Not even these ones. 😉
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband. I had his support (and many times disapproval) but without him I couldn’t do many things I did. I hope he will not take too many advantages after reading this. ☺ Another important person for my experience is Felix Trolldenier (TROLLFILM): he taught me how to edit a film. I met him for my first film ”The Birthday”. The film was in mandarin and he said, with a dark voice ”You will never find an editor that will work in low budget in mandarin. Forget it. But I can teach you how to edit”. At the beginning I was desperate but then I accepted and it changed my life.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Glenn Close. Her speech at the Oscar was breathtaking. I would love to have a breakfast and lunch with her. Another one (just in case)for a dinner: Cate Blanchett, for me the most inspiring actress of this century. I love her completely.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram (but I need to post more ;)!) https://www.instagram.com/daniela.lucato/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!
Thanks a lot! For me too ☹)!